How to Find the Right Dental Assistant Program near Headland Alabama
Picking the ideal dental assistant training near Headland AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Headland AL dental office and can undertake a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Headland AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Headland AL dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Alabama community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant college can be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Headland AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Headland AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Headland AL frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the Alabama college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Headland AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Headland AL area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Headland AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Headland AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Headland AL area colleges you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Headland AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near your Headland AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's important to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask Dental Assistant prospects is "What compelled you to select Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should ready a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Enroll in the Best Dental Assistant School near Headland AL
Picking the ideal dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require approximately one year of study before they enter the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Headland AL.
Tell Me About Headland Alabama
Headland is the largest city in Henry County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama metropolitan area. At the 2010 census the population was 4,510, up from 3,523 at the 2000 census. Ray Marler is the current mayor.
James Joshua Head (1839–1927) founded Headland in 1871 as "Head's Land". He patented land, plotted the town and built his home. The post office opened, as "Headland", on October 10, 1871.
The Headland Public Square was laid off in 1871 by J.J. Head with a vision for a branch courthouse. Henry County voters decided in the 1879 and 1885 courthouse site elections not to locate a courthouse on the public square. Henry has been Alabama's only county with three courthouses at the same time.
J.J. Head sold Headland to Hosey C. Powell in 1879, who sold to Dr. Wyatt S. Oates in 1880. J.J. Head moved to Tampa, Florida, in 1883 and later established Lake Magdalene, Florida.
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